In the cancer research industry, holistic medicines are sometimes viewed as less effective than traditional therapies.
Some patients are hesitant to try alternative therapies because there is not a large body of evidence surrounding their efficacy. However, many alternative procedures – including acupuncture, Reiki and aromatherapy – have played a significant role in cancer treatment for hundreds or even thousands of years.
Holistic therapies are palliative in nature, meaning they focus more on relieving symptoms than treating a singular tumor. They are typically used to relieve symptoms and side effects of traditional treatment as well as improve a patient’s quality of life.
Many alternative treatments can:
- Reduce pain
- Relieve anxiety and promote relaxation
- Fight fatigue
- Stimulate appetite
- Naturally manage the side effects of traditional treatment
- Boost the immune system to better response to cancer
When patients align their expectations with the actual intent of the treatments, the medicines can play an effective role in cancer therapy.
Common Holistic Options for Cancer Treatment:
Each holistic therapy has a different intended use. Patients may rely on any number of these gentle therapies to help manage their symptoms. These therapies can be mind-body (such as massage and yoga) or body only (such as chiropractic care).
Studies have repeatedly shown a significant reduction in anxiety, stress and mild depression after massage therapy and Reiki. Massage promotes relaxation nearly as effectively as anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medication.
Acupuncture and reflexology are also used to help reduce pain. These holistic therapies gently stimulate pressure points in the body that correlate to other spots where pain is occurring.
Some holistic medicines are able to boost the body’s own cancer-reversing ability. Supplements such as tart cherries and vitamin C have helped some patients note improvements in their body’s response to traditional therapies.
These therapies are much gentler on the body than traditional therapies, but patients must remember that holistic medicine is still professional medicine. To ensure the best possible response to the therapies, patients should consult with an oncologist or a holistic medicine practitioner before beginning any of these holistic treatments.
– Faith Franz
Author bio: Faith Franz is a writer for the Mesothelioma Center. She combines her interests in whole-body health and medical research to educate the mesothelioma community about the newest developments in cancer care.